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That might not have mattered so much—few pop musicians can sustain inspiration over so many decades—if Mitchell had not always seemed given by nature to such withdrawals. Unlike Dylan, Cohen or Young, who have all followed similarly erratic paths, she has not chosen to consolidate her legacy in her advancing years with lengthy world tours to reconnect with her audiences. Finally, her public persona, on the rare occasion that she consents to an interview or appearance, is not what one would call charming.
Although certainly bright and tough, with a piquant sense of humour, she tends to carp about being misunderstood, to rail about dubious health complaints fibromyalgia , to snipe at her equals calling Cohen and Dylan plagiarists, for instance and to dismiss her heirs, accusing women from Rickie Lee Jones to Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman of being mere copycats. She also refuses to call herself a feminist.
It is not hard to imagine where all these feelings come from. Having been underestimated, she overcompensates. Having been reduced to type, she objects to any labels.
Open Book: Joni: The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell, by Katherine Monk
She lives in Vancouver, B. In that, she produces a significant cultural reading of Mitchell that is also cleverly entertaining. Monk's colloquial first-person treatment of Mitchell's life is refreshing and often hilarious. Her account of Mitchell's dramatic rise to fame and countless love affairs, which inspired her songs, makes for a riveting read. It felt oddly like tracking my own genealogy, as Joni Mitchell, unbeknownst to her, raised me from a very early age. This unique and thoughtful biography is recommended for all fans of Joni Mitchell. Available in stores.
Joni - The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell - Book Lauch Party by Katherine Monk
An illuminating portrait of one of Canada's most brilliant and defiant musical icons. From the moment Joni Mitchell's career began—with coffee-house bookings, serendipitous encounters with established stars, and a recording contract that gave her full creative control over her music—the woman from the Canadian wheat fields has eluded industry cliches.
When her peers were focused on feminism, Mitchell was plumbing the depths of her own human condition. When arena rock was king, she turned to jazz. When all others hailed Bob Dylan as a musical messiah, Mitchell saw a fraud burdened with halitosis. Unafraid to "write in her own blood," regardless of the cost, Mitchell has been vilified as a diva and embraced as a genius, but rarely has she been recognized as an artist and a thinker.
This new portrait of the reclusive icon examines how significant life events—failed relationships, the surrender of her infant daughter, debilitating sickness—have influenced her creative expression. Katherine Monk captures the rich legacy of her multifaceted subject in this offbeat account, weaving in personal reflections and astute cultural observations, and revealing the Mitchell who remains misunderstood.
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